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Common Name: Pampas Grass
Cortaderia selloana is a Evergreen Perennial up to 3.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials.
S. America - temperate areas. Sometimes persists in Britain as a garden throw-out[
Moist sandy soils[
] on river banks and mountains in Chile[
Succeeds in most soils, preferring a damp well-drained sandy or loamy soil[
]. Inclined to be intolerant of cold clay soils[
]. Succeeds in dry soils. Prefers a sunny sheltered position[
]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[
This species is hardy to about -20°c[
] if the winter is not excessively wet, though it is intolerant of prolonged periods of cold weather.
Pampas grass is occasionally cultivated in some areas for its fibre which is used in making paper.
Plants grow well as a focal point in a lawn and they also succeed in quite coarse grass[
]. A number of named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[
The leaves have saw-toothed edges, it is best to wear gloves when working with the plant[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required[
]. The inflorescence on the male plant is rather erect whilst it has wide spreading branches on the female[
A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making paper[
]. The leaves are harvested in the autumn, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked for 24 hours in clear water. They are then cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a blender. The fibre makes a yellow paper[
Seed - surface sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 15°c. Keep the soil moist. The seed has a short viability[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in late spring[
]. It can be very difficult to obtain divisions from this plant because they tend to be very large and to be very close to the main clump. We have found it best to use a sharp spade to cut into the main clump and break off the divisions. These are then potted up in light shade in a cold frame and are planted out once they have rooted well and are in active growth.